Campus News

Brandon Heath and Jars of Clay perform at Wiekamp

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Jars of Clay and Brandon Heath lit up the Wiekamp Gymnasium with songs of worship and testimonies (photo by Y. Moya Potography).
When the big brown tour bus rumbled onto campus on Tuesday morning, students knew that they were in for a treat. The Student Council-funded event involved students in every aspect of concert hosting, from guarding the doors backstage to handling ticket sales to driving the band around town. Charlie Lowell, Jars of Clay’s keyboard player, said, “Of all the ways we spend our time … five percent is on stage, in front of people.” He statead that the glamour of the stage and the fans’ recognition was only a small part of their life. The rest falls under the category of “hard work,” like arranging light set-ups for the shows and living on a jam-packed tour bus with eleven other people. What the members of Jars of Clay want to do when they write new music is connect to their fans in addition to staying true to themselves. Lowell said, “Hopefully people can relate to our songs on a human level.” They try not to be exclusively Christian, so as to not alienate a potential audience that they could impact for God. Most of their song inspiration “comes out of life,” according to Lowell, and is autobiographical. To keep themselves occupied on tour, the band occasionally plays pranks on their tour manager, Nathan Baugh. While at Bethel, they hijacked his phone and changed the language to Korean. And, as many college students can relate to, the band changed Flint’s Facebook status to something embarrassing. Even though they have been to Europe, the band believes that the Midwest has its charms as well. Lowell said that he enjoyed the food, since it was a “good, meat and potatoes” kind of deal. Another plus of traveling in the Midwest is that the band mates are in the same time zone as their families, who live in Nashville, Tenn. Roughly 900 people attended the concert held in Gates Gymnasium. Brandon Heath opened the concert at 7:30 p.m., charming the audience with quips about his trips to Home Depot and Chipotle earlier in the day. Jars of Clay began to play at nine, rocking on stage until almost ten-thirty. After the concert, both Heath and Jars signed posters, T-shirts, and CDs. They even stayed late to take pictures with patient fans.
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